St. Molua's Leprous Pond

Patrick Weston Joyce

There is a place at the foot of Slieve Bloom in Queen's County, now called Clonfert-Mulloe, or more generally Kyle; and here flourished in old times a noted monastery dedicated to St. Molua, from whom it derived its name. The wonder of this place was the mill-pond of the monastery; for any person, not a monk, who bathed in it, became immediately covered over with leprosy. It was however wholly free from danger for the monks; for they bathed in it without suffering the least injury; and what was equally curious, there was one little corner about four yards off from the body of the pond, where any ordinary person might bathe, and come out as clean as he went in, if not cleaner.

The venomous quality of the water, though a lamentable circumstance for the neighbours, was very convenient for the good brotherhood, as it left them the sole use of the pond; for it was very unlikely that any one would venture a bath even in the safe corner, seeing that a single splash from another part of the pond might send him away a leper for life.